Often we need to keep close tabs on our project resources, as the planned resource assignments may not mirror the actual resource assignments. To account for resource changes we want the ability to switch out labor resources while our project is active in progress mode. Yes, this can be done in Primavera P6.
There is a sequence for entering the labor units of activities. Not following this procedure will most likely result in actual labor units that are not what you intended. With the proper sequence, Primavera P6 enables you to track and even switch out one resource for another, while providing an accurate picture of the schedule both before and after the switch out.
This article describes how to switch out one resource for another while the project is active and in progress.
The following example schedule is a construction project displayed in Figure 1, with three activities, each associated with one Work Breakdown Structure element.
The activities all have the classic Finish-to-Start relationship. Additionally, there are two resources assigned to each activity. Note that the percent complete type of all activities is ‘physical’. We are most interested in accurately describing the budgeted and actual labor units, as we had to switch out one resource for another on the go.
You may be tempted here to first enter resource labor units, but this is the wrong order for your status update, and will not provide the actual labor units you are trying to describe. The first major step in the process of updating multiple resource activities is to enter the status and duration situation in the bottom pane status tab, Figure 2.
Toggle the activity start date and finish date, as for our example the activity both commenced and completed on schedule. Now examine the durations. Again, our activity completed according to schedule so it has an original duration and actual duration that are equivalent.
Once the activity status is set we can focus on the second major step, which is to enter activity resource labor units in the bottom pane resources tab. To switch out the common laborer for the plumber you may be tempted to simply remove the common laborer resource and add the plumber resource.
But you want to capture the common laborer’s budgeted unit’s contribution to the original plan. So keep the common laborer in place with a budgeted units of 40-hours, but set its actual units to zero. Now let’s add a plumber resource to activity A. Click the add resource button in the bottom pane resources tab. Highlight the plumber and assign it to activity A, Figure 3.
Next, make the budgeted units of the plumber zero, as we were not originally planning to use the plumber resource. Then enter an actual units of 32-hours for the plumber, Figure 4. If the project has been baselined, this step of zeroing out the planned units for the newly assigned resource helps avoid unnecessary cost variance values.
With these resource assignments in place for activity A we move the data date and recalculate the schedule, Figure 5.
If your status and resource values were entered properly, the assigned resource values will hold through the schedule recalculation. Viewing the activities pane we see that the budgeted labor units for activity A was 80-hours, but the actual units was only 72-hours.
Also, the budgeted labor cost was $5,800, but the actual labor cost was only $5,760. Despite the higher standard pay rate of the plumber, the reduced actual labor units resulted in a lower actual labor cost for activity A.
A key to switching out one resource for another in Primavera P6 is to enter the activity status and duration first, then with the status in place, focus on the resource assignments. Another key factor is to retain the resource you are switching out, so that you can capture its contribution to the budgeted units and budgeted cost. Set its actual units to zero, to complete its definition as a budgeted but unutilized resource.
With the switched out resource’s budgeted and actual units clarified, add the replacement resource, but make certain to set its budgeted units to zero. You therefore have one unplanned and utilized resource definition added to another planned and unutilized resource definition. Now the schedule fully describes both the budgeted and actual values of all activity resource assignments.